CLS 150-01

The rise and fall of the Athenian empire
Four key areas

  1. repulse of Persian invasion under Xerxes, 480/479
  2. formation of Delian League, 477, quickly dominated by Athens
  3. 476-449 Athenian power expands, drives Persia out of Aegean
  4. 431-404: Peloponnesian War — Clash between Athens & Sparta

Three phases of Peloponnesian war: All will be on quiz & final!!

  • Phase I (431-421): The Archidamian war (Pylos 425, Amphipolis 424)
  • Phase II (421-413): The peace of Nicias, Sicilian expansion 415-413
  • Phase III (412-404): Ionian (or Decelean) war

Formation of Delian League in 477 BC

  • Voluntary; HQ & treasury on Delos, Athens asked to act as leader after Sparta declines
  • Cimon, son of Miltiades was general; defeats Persia in 469 @ battle of Eurymedon River
  • From League to Empire; not voluntary, HQ and treasury moved from Delos to Athens
  • Subject-allies: annual cash tribute, few retained on ships
  • Pericles and Ephialtes (not same as one @ Thermopylae) curtail Areopagus Council, Cimon exiled c.460: radical democracy
  • image: greek tribute lists
  • Athenian Empire 476-449
    Expansion, contraction, consolidation

  • Captures Boeotia, Megara, Aegina (all Spartan friends)
  • 250 ships to assist revolt against Persian rule in Egypt
  • Lose Boeotia, Megara and all 250 ships in Egypt (454BC)
  • 449: Peace of Callias: Persians agree to stay out of Aegean
  • Curtails Athenian ambition and makes 30-yr peace with Sparta
  • Pericles rescinds oath of Plataea (not to rebuild temples destroyed in 480 by Persians)
  • embarks on huge building program in Athens: Parthenon, Propylaia (acropolis entrance), Erechtheion, Temple of Athena Nike and others, all built with funds from Delian league
  • Peloponnesian War (431-404)

  • Thucidydes says Sparta wary of Athenian growth
  • Athens had long-term designs in the west (Sicily)
  • Spartan alllies, especially Corinth, worried about above
  • Thucidydes also implies a clash between 2 powers was inevitable, regardless of final pretexts
  • Clash of opposites: Athenian navy v. Spartan elite infantry & strong alliance
  • Thucidydes

  • Wealthy aristocratic family
  • elected one of 10 generals 424; exiled, lived at Corinth
  • first scientific historian? work a “possession for all time”
  • tells purpose, methods
  • work is unfinished
  • in contrast with Herodotus, Homer (no gods, romance, cultural data)
  • political, military history, focus on Athens, Greek world
  • Causes,both surface and underlying
  • New Learning; rational, rhetoric, moral relativism
  • does human behavior occur in predictable patterns?
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